- you must be a farmer or the partner of a farmer. If you are the farmer you must contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm enterprise based on specific criteria
- meet an income and assets test
- be willing to enter into a Financial Improvement Agreement to help you improve your financial circumstances
Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for Farm Household Allowance
To be eligible for Farm Household Allowance you need to:
- be a farmer
- be aged 16 years or over
- contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm enterprise
- meet an income and assets test
- meet residence requirements
- have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer
- be willing to agree to mutual obligations, and
- have received less than 3 years of Farm Household Allowance
If you are a partner of a farmer, you may be eligible if:
- you are a member of a couple
- your partner is a farmer
- your partner contributes a significant part of their labour and capital to the farm enterprise
- you meet residence requirements
- you have regular contact with a Farm Household Case Officer
- you are willing to agree to mutual obligations, and
- you have received less than 3 years of Farm Household Allowance
The farm enterprise must have significant commercial purpose or character. It will be assessed based on the following criteria:
- the purpose of your farm activity and the prospect for profit
- the consistency of your farm activity
- whether your farm activity is planned, organised and operated like a business, and
- the size, scale and permanency of your farm activity
Payment rates for Farm Household Allowance
The amount of Farm Household Allowance you get depends on your circumstances. This is usually the same rate as Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. If you are a qualifying member of a couple, Farm Household Allowance is paid to each of you. To be paid as the partner of a farmer, an individual must meet Farm Household Allowance eligibility criteria and be partnered with someone who meets the farmer qualification criteria.
Current Interim Farm Household Allowance recipients
If you are receiving this payment and want to avoid a break in payment, you should lodge your claim for Farm Household Allowance by 14 August 2014. Both you and your partner will need to submit separate claims.
The Interim Farm Household Allowance may be paid up to 30 September 2014 whilst your claim is being assessed.
The closing date to lodge your claim for Farm Household Allowance has been extended to 14 August 2014, from the previous date of 14 July 2014.
Income and assets tests for Farm Household Allowance
The amount of income and assets you have may determine the payment you will get.
Your income must be below the allowable income limits used to calculate Newstart Allowance.
Some non-farm income may not be assessable under certain circumstances.
There are 2 components in the assets test.
Component 1 – Non-farm and liquid assets test
The first component assesses the non-farm and liquid assets you, your family and your business own.
Liquid assets include cash immediately available in your personal and business bank accounts, term deposits, shares and other financial accounts. Your family home and up to 2 hectares of land surrounding it, listed on a single title and used for domestic purpose, can be excluded from this assets test.
The total must not exceed your maximum reserve. Otherwise you may be subject to a Liquid Assets Waiting Period. Your maximum reserve differs depending on your circumstances.
Component 2 – Total net assets
The second component assesses your family’s total farm net assets. The total must be below $2.55 million.
Liquid Assets Waiting Period
A Liquid Assets Waiting Period of up to 13 weeks may apply if your liquid assets exceed the thresholds for Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. If you are subject to a Liquid Assets Waiting Period, we will let you know how long you have to wait before you can be paid.
Residence requirements for Farm Household Allowance
To be eligible for Farm Household Allowance you must satisfy residence requirements you must:
- be an Australian resident
- continue to be an Australian resident for as long as you get this payment, and
- be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
Other benefits while receiving Farm Household Allowance
If you are eligible for the Farm Household Allowance you may also be entitled to other benefits such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- To start your claim apply online for the Farm Household Allowance
- Provide supporting documents
- Submit your claim
- We will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Farm Household Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- you become partnered or separate from your partner
- your work load changes, or
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about changes in your circumstances within 14 days of any change occurring your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and, if you are overpaid, you may have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Meeting with a Farm Household Case Officer
You will be supported by a Farm Household Case Officer who will work with you to develop a Financial Improvement Agreement which will help you improve your financial circumstances. Your Farm Household Case Officer will contact you approximately every 3 months to talk about your agreed activities. They can help you with anything that may be impacting on your participation in these activities. These meetings can be either face to face or over the phone, depending on your circumstances.
Farm Household Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
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